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Fifty years after its first publication, Robin Boyd's bestselling The Australian Ugliness remains the definitive statement on how we live and think in the environments we create for ourselves.  In it Boyd rallied against Australia's promotion of ornament, decorative approach to design and slavish imitation of all things American.
'The basis of the Australian ugliness,' he wrote, 'is an unwillingness to be committed on the level of ideas.  In all the arts of living, in the shaping of all her artefacts, as in politics, Australia shuffles about vigorously in the middle - as she estimates the middle - of the road, picking up disconnected ideas wherever she finds them.'
Boyd was a fierce critic, and an advocate of good design.  He understood the significance of the connection between people and their dwellings, and argued passionately for a national architecture forged from a genuine Australian identity.  His concerns are as important now, in an era of suburban sprawl and inner-city redevelopment, as they were half a century ago.
Caustic and brilliant, The Australian Ugliness is a masterpiece that enables us to see our surroundings with fresh eyes.  This handsome anniversary edition is complemented by Robin Boyd's original sketches for the book and a new afterword by major contemporary architects.


'As interesting and amusing and untechnical as a novel.' - Sir John Betjeman


'An argument for an environmental approach to design and a tirade against the visual pollution of the commercial strip.' - Philip Goad


'Robin Boyd's book clarified for all of us that the Australian ugliness - how we would bludgeon the land into fertility, cut forests so that power lines could go through, so that cars could take precedence over everything...Conservatism reigned supreme; it had to be like that regardless of whether it was logical, whether it was appropriate, whether it responded to climatic variations...The buildings were the same from Melbourne to Darwin, and they still are the same.' - Glenn Murcutt


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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    March 29, 2010


    304 pages

    RRP $34.95

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Robin Boyd

The Australian Ugliness: Text Classics
Blue Afternoon
Australia's Home


Building Up And Tearing Down
The Architecture Of Happiness
The Australian Ugliness: Text Classics